Comments on: Springtime For Swastikas In High School Musicals? in partnership with the New School Sat, 19 Aug 2017 10:59:45 +0000 hourly 1 By: Howard Sherman Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:16:00 +0000 Dear MW: Your points are all well-taken too. But as I have noted in the past, the usual reaction to any controversy regarding the arts in schools to to take the path of least resistance, which in this cases was remove the offending elements (albeit inconsistently). In worst case scenarios, shows are canceled and teachers are fired. I understand the pragmatism in many individual cases (though never the firings), but the net effect broadly is a homogenization of what arts students, what theatre students, can take on, learn from and even teach others. That’s why I feel compelled to catalogue these incidents,since they are part of a larger pattern, not merely one-offs, community by community and school by school.

By: MWnyc Tue, 15 Mar 2016 08:38:00 +0000 Howard, your points are good, of course.

But school administrators don’t have the luxury if dealing only with theater fans; they have to deal with the entire range of the general public. Explaining, and understanding, the role of the swastika in The Producers requires a certain amount of nuance. And – as public school professionals know – there is a certain segment of the general public that just doesn’t do nuance.

I’m sure that administrators’ response to this controversy was all about making the problem go away as fast as possible. And given what they have to deal with that can’t be made to go away, I can’t judge them too harshly for that.

(It would have been different if the administrators had tried to cancel the production entirely, but they didn’t.)

The students involved can learn one unfortunate but very necessary lesson from this shonda: Picking your battles. Sometimes you have to surrender, even if you know you’re right, because you just can’t win the battle in the time and circumstances you have.